Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz lined-up alongside two star-studded teams at the Stade Louis II on Tuesday for the World Stars football match at the Stade Louis II.
Fans streamed in to watch the spectacle, many of whom were clearly here for the Grand Prix weekend and were eager to watch some of the best drivers in the world try their hand at another sport. They were not disappointed, as well as Leclerc and Sainz, Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat, Fernando Alonso and Lucas Di Grassi were all present.
Pre-match, Prince Albert II and Prince Jacques greeted the players of both sides, as well as Francesco Totti, who despite not featuring in the game itself, was nonetheless present to give his support to the teams and to the charitable cause.
It was an entertaining, open game of many opportunities. Gasly, who has the precision to navigate the narrow streets of the Principality, didn’t quite have the magic touch on the football field. Many chances fell his way, but he couldn’t convert, as fine margins were often the difference.
The scoring was opened by an incredible long-range curling free-kick from Vincent Candela, who reacted with the an ambivalent noncholance that insinuated that he, the former World Cup winner, was well used to producing such magical moments on a regular basis.
As a thunderstorm struck the stadium at the beginning of the second-half, it began raining goals on the pitch. The Star Team for the Children doubled the scoring, the All Stars Formula 1 Drivers then grabbed one back, before the former’s two goal advantage was restored.
Although the home crowd were eager to witness a Leclerc goal, it was his team-mate Sainz that proved to be the gamechanger. Two goals from the Ferrari driver in a matter of seconds wiped away the deficit.
Clearly as at home on a football pitch as he is at the wheel of a single-seater, Sainz dictated play and was the most dangerous player on the pitch, some fingertip saves denying the Spaniard a deserved hat-trick.
But neither side could break the deadlock and 3-3 it remained, both teams happy with their showing and for having raised money for an important cause.
The event raised funds to help children all over the world, the importance of the cause was highlighted by former AS Monaco winger Jerôme Rothen post-match, who said, “It’s essential that children are in good health, and that their health is improved and taken care of in good conditions.”
The event certainly helped towards achieving this goal, whilst entertaining fans in the warm-up to what is the biggest weekend in the Monegasuqe sporting calendar.
Photo source: Michael Alesi, Government Communication Department